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You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History

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If you’re both overcome and angered by the atrocities of our time, this will inspire a “new generation of activists and ordinary people who search for hope in the darkness” (Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor).

Is change possible? Where will it come from? Can we actually make a difference? How do we remain hopeful?


Howard Zinn—activist, historian, and author of A People’s History of the United States—was a participant in and chronicler of some of the landmark struggles for racial and economic justice in US history. In his memoir, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train, Zinn reflects on more than thirty years of fighting for social change, from his teenage years as a laborer in Brooklyn to teaching at Spelman College, where he emerged in the civil rights movement as a powerful voice for justice. A former bombardier in World War II, he later became an outspoken antiwar activist, spirited protestor, and champion of civil disobedience. Throughout his life, Zinn was unwavering in his belief that “small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” With a foreword from activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, this revised edition will inspire a new generation of readers to believe that change is possible.

ISBN-13: 9780807043844

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Beacon Press

Publication Date: 09-18-2018

Pages: 232

Product Dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Howard Zinn (1922–2010) was a historian, author, professor, playwright, and activist. His life’s work focused on a wide range of issues including race, class, war, and history, and touched the lives of countless people. His writing celebrated the accomplishments of social movements and ordinary people, and challenged readers to question the myths that justify war and inequality. Zinn’s influence lives on in millions of people who have read his work and have been inspired by his actions. He ended his autobiography with these encouraging words: "We don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an endless succession of presents, and to live now as we think humans should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory." Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an assistant professor in Princeton University’s Center for African American Studies and the author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.

Table of Contents

Foreword 2018
Preface 2002
Introduction: The Question Period in Kalamazoo

PART ONE: The South and the Movement

1. Going South: Spelman College
2. “Young Ladies Who Can Picket”
3. “A President Is Like a Gardener”
4. “My Name Is Freedom”: Albany, Georgia
5. Selma, Alabama
6. “I’ll Be Here”: Mississippi

PART TWO: War

7. A Veteran against War
8. “Sometimes to Be Silent Is to Lie”: Vietnam
9. The Last Teach-In
10. “Our Apologies, Good Friends, for the Fracture of Good Order”

PART THREE: Scenes and Changes

11. In Jail: “The World Is Topsy-Turvy”
12. In Court: “The Heart of the Matter”
13. Growing Up Class-Conscious
14. A Yellow Rubber Chicken: Battles at Boston University
15. The Possibility of Hope

Acknowledgments
Index